According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports on presidential campaign finances made public on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush overwhelmed their opposition in second quarter fundraising. Combined, the two presidential front-runners raised a combined $176 million (including super PAC money), from April 1 – June 30.
On their own, Clinton and Bush together only raised $58.7 million, with direct individual contributions capped at $2,700 per candidate.
Political action committees (super PACs) are outside groups which often advocate for specific candidates and/or policy issues, and have no limit on how much money they can spend or raise. The only stipulation is that a super PAC cannot donate to an individual candidate’s campaign.
Gov. Bush’s super PAC ,”Right to Rise”, has raised $103 million through the first half of the year – a new record in the short history of unlimited ‘political advocacy’ fundraising.
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that the First Amendment prohibited campaign finance laws which banned “independent expenditures” for “electioneering communication” by non-profits, unions, and corporations.
According to records released to date, the super PAC’s of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and John Kasich have raised more money than their individual campaigns.
Some of the lesser known or ‘long-shot’ candidates are raising more money through small individual contributions of less than $200 – a threshold under which campaigns are not required to disclose the donor’s name:
-Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised a total of $13.7 million so far, with more than 75% coming from small donors.
-68% of the $10.6 million that G.O.P. candidate Ben Carson has collected is from donations of under $200 each.
-While only raising $1.7 million, 43% of Carly Fiorina’s donors have contributed less than the minimum threshold.
Conversely, only 17% of Hillary Clinton’s, and 3% of Jeb Bush’s individual donations are in the $1-$200 range.
John Kasich, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Jim Webb have yet to file campaign finance reports with the FEC, as the second quarter deadline ended June 30. All those who announce their candidacy after that date will file third quarter reports, due to be publicized in mid-October.
[AP] [ABC News]